Hello everyone! I would be very thankful if you could check my Letter of Motivation for Master's programs in Sweden!

A quick note: as some of you may know, Sweden has a somewhat odd centralized university admissions system. That means you can apply to several programs (up to 4 prioritized choices) with a single application.

What seems like an advantage is complicated however by the fact that, as far as I know, you are allowed to send just one letter of motivation. This letter can actually be read by all the universities you have applied to. So, it just seems weird to focus only on your first choice, as it could conceivably hurt your chances in the other programs. But then, having such a general approach defeats the whole purpose of a letter of motivation.

In my case, my first two choices are pretty similar programs (one is called "Chemical Engineering for Energy and the Environment" and the other "Innovative and Sustainable Chemical Engineering"), while the last two are kind of wild picks. I went with a general approach in the letter, but any comments about how I could tackle this issue would be strongly appreciated.

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Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from [University] in [City], [South American country]. I graduated first in my class out of 15 chemical engineers and overall second out of 151 graduates, and I am now looking forward to continuing my education in a Master's program in the field of Chemical Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology or at Karlstad University.

My interest in chemical engineering dates back to my high-school involvement in Chemistry Olympiads at the national and international level. Despite my profound interest in chemistry, I remained intrigued by the application of scientific principles to more tangible problems and by the role of engineers in society, particularly in [South American country], where the oil industry pervades all aspects of our economic and social development. As I advanced in my studies, I became enthralled by the technical challenges offered by the field and by the integration of tools from different areas required to solve a problem. I now intend to further deepen my understanding of advanced issues and tools in chemical engineering and to enhance my creativity and problem-solving skills in order to become a complete and globally competitive engineer.

Towards the end of my studies, I participated in a student exchange program between [University] and the [University 2] in [European country]. I dedicated the first semester to coursework, which I then followed by the completion of my diploma thesis at [Company] in [City 2], [European country]. In my thesis I worked on the design, construction and start-up of an integrated cross-flow pilot plant for the application of membrane technology to the industrial production of fine chemicals. Additionally, as part of the project I studied the behavior of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes in a small dead-end filtration cell.

My experience at [Company] allowed me to strengthen my research abilities and, coupled with the coursework at [University 2], to gain an insight into novel areas of chemical engineering. Nonetheless, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of doing my thesis at [Company] was being able to contribute to an ingenious and industrially relevant solution aiming to provide not only economic and operational advantages for the company, but also to lessen the process' environmental impact. Precisely, the future of chemical engineering is being defined by the combination of technical, economic and environmental challenges, and the programs' motivating coursework and the opportunity of engaging in high-impact research, along with their orientation towards environmental and sustainability issues would provide me with a privileged preparation to face these challenges in an innovative and ultimately successful manner.

I believe that my solid preparation in the fundamentals of chemical engineering and my resolute work ethic and motivation, as evidenced by my academic record and my engaged participation in several extracurricular activities, put me in a great position to take the best out of a Master's program in one of Sweden's premier universities. I look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely yours,

[Signature]
1 2
Overall your letter is pretty good. But it could be better.

You're trying to sound sophisticated, but instead, you're having the opposite effect in certain parts. Write in a more direct fashion.

So what do I mean?

Let's take a couple of examples:

My experience at [Company] allowed me to strengthen my research abilities and, coupled with the coursework at [University 2], to gain an insight into novel areas of chemical engineering.

I strengthened research abilities and gained a stronger appreciation of two interesting chemical engineering applications. You would need to describe the two applications.

Why do I like the revised version better. One, uses active versus passive. Passive sucks, even though novices think it sounds erudite. Second, it avoids vague language such as "novel areas." If I look up "novel areas" in the dictionary, even a chemical engineering dictionary, will have I have any clue? No.

Nonetheless, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of doing my thesis at [Company] was being able to contribute to an ingenious and industrially relevant solution aiming to provide not only economic and operational advantages for the company, but also to lessen the process' environmental impact.

What don't I like about sentence? It's wordy, vagues, and doesn't tell me anything.

During my career as an engineer, I worked on highly complex systems, using advanced and sophisticated techologies, to solve challenging problems that were extremely important to the company that addressed safety, environment, and productivity concerns.

Everything I said was true. Do you have any clue what I did? Do you know if I even accomplished anything? Did I make a difference? (btw, I am a mechanical engineer.) In other words, I wasted my words, because I told you absolutely nothing. And in your long, wordy sentence, you told me nothing.

Despite my profound interest in chemistry, I remained intrigued by the application of scientific principles to more tangible problems and by the role of engineers in society, particularly in [South American country], where the oil industry pervades all aspects of our economic and social development.

I am struggling to make sense of your sentence. Why "Despite"? I would expect that if you are interested in chemistry, you would also be intrigued by its applications. It's just an extension of your knowledge. But look at your sentence. It's a stream of consciousness. You start by talking about your interest in chemisty, then you talk about application of scientific principles, and then you talk role of engineers in socieity, particularly about society in South America, and then you talk about oil.

It would seem to me that a) your smart and have an interest in chemistry and b) this interest led you to want to further your career/interests in becoming a chemical engineer in a country that is dependent upon oil for its economic and social development. (Venezuela)

To improve your letter, do this:

1) Eliminate vague stuff

2) Provide specific stuff

3) Tell me about you. That is what is important. Nothing else is important.

4) When you tell me about you, give me specific examples where you demonstrate what you've told me. If you tell me you can solve complex problems, show me an example.

You're bright enough. With my quickly worded response, try your letter again.

Here's some posts that might help you.

http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/SampleLetterMotivationApplication-LetterUniversity/xpzpl/po...

http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/MotivationLetterUniversityAbhinav-Gaur13/xqjzg/post.htm

http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/MotivationLetter/prrwb/post.htm

http://www.EnglishForward.com/English/MotivationLetter/xqdwq/post.htm
Hello MountainHiker! Thanks a lot for carefully reading my letter and for your insightful comments. I have tried to take them into account and reworded the passages you mentioned, aiming to be a bit more specific. I hope you find them better. Should you have any comments or corrections, please feel free to post. Greetings!

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Dear Sir or Madam,

I recently graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from [University] in [City], Venezuela. I graduated first in my class out of 15 chemical engineers and overall second out of 151 graduates, and I am now looking forward to continuing my education in a Master's program in the field of Chemical Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology or at Karlstad University.

My interest in chemical engineering dates back to my high-school involvement in Chemistry Olympiads at the national and international level. I was deeply interested in chemistry, but I was also intrigued by the application of scientific principles to more tangible problems and by the role of engineers in society, particularly in Venezuela, where the oil industry pervades all aspects of our economic and social development. As I advanced in my studies, I became enthralled by the technical challenges offered by the field and by the integration of tools from different areas required to solve a problem. I now intend to further deepen my understanding of advanced issues and tools in chemical engineering and to enhance my creativity and problem-solving skills in order to become a complete and globally competitive engineer.

Towards the end of my studies, I participated in a student exchange program between [University] and the [University 2] in Germany. I dedicated the first semester to coursework, which I then followed by the completion of my diploma thesis at [Company] in [City 2], Germany. In my thesis I worked on the design and construction of an integrated cross-flow test system for the application of membrane technology to the industrial production of fine chemicals and conducted the start-up tests on the test plant to ensure its effective and safe operation. Additionally, as part of the project I studied the behavior of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes in a small dead-end filtration cell.

Through my experience at [Company] and the coursework at [University 2] I strengthened my research abilities and gained a greater appreciation of novel areas such as membrane separations and bioprocess engineering. I am very satisfied by the fact that the results of my thesis, the membrane test system and the experimental data on membrane performance, are aiding [Company] implement innovative technologies to their production processes with the aim of achieving not only economic and operational advantages, but also of lessening the processes' environmental impact. Precisely, the future of chemical engineering is being defined by the combination of technical, economic and environmental challenges. The programs' motivating coursework and the opportunity of engaging in high-impact research, along with their orientation towards environmental and sustainability issues, would provide me with a privileged preparation to face these modern challenges in an innovative and ultimately successful manner.

I believe that my solid preparation in the fundamentals of chemical engineering and my resolute work ethic and motivation, as evidenced by my academic record and my engaged participation in several extracurricular activities, put me in a great position to take the best out of a Master's program in one of Sweden's premier universities. I look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely yours,

[Signature]
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Okay,

I read your letter quickly. And here are my quick thoughts

- For a guy who is a A+, you're selling yourself poorly - C+
- You've got a lot more to offer than what this letter indicates
- Even with this letter, you'll have no problem being accepted

Let's look at each of those comments with a bit more depth. Why only a C+ grade? Because you haven't told me anything about you. As soon as you told me you were first in your class, I understood you're bright. And then more detailed stuff about projects just confirms what I already know. It's as though you wrote:

I am bright, bright, bright, bright.

I got it after the first one.

What I understood, but you didn't tell me specifically is that you have mastered several languages: Spanish, English, German, Swedish?

You're mulitnational, multicultural, able to assimiate quickly in new surroundings? thrive on challenges? Able to meet people and make friends easily? Enjoy travel? Have varied interests? Determined? Ambitious?

Did you notice the question marks? I am making guesses, but if you told me these things, I would sure help. I want to know the complete person. Are you smart enough? Easily. But what else do you bring to the table?

Dear Sir or Madam, (In North America, we use a colon Dear Sir or Madam:)

I recently graduated *** laude with an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from [University] in [City], Venezuela. After I graduatinged first in my class out of 15 chemical engineers and overall second out of 151 graduates, and I am now looking forward to continuing my education in a Master's program in the field of Chemical Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology or at Karlstad University.

My interest in chemical engineering dates back to my high-school involvement in Chemistry Olympiads at the national and international level. (See if you can rephrase first sentence to be more interesting?) While always I was deeply interested in chemistry, but I am was also intrigued by the application of scientific principles to more tangible problems and by the role of engineers in society, particularly in Venezuela, where the oil industry pervades all aspects of our economic and social development. As I continue to advanced in my studies, I look forward to solving (or better words) became enthralled by the technical challenges offered (hate, absolutely hate passive sentences) by the field and by the integration of using tools from different disciplines areas required to solve a problems. I now intend to further deepen my understanding of advanced issues and tools in chemical engineering and to enhance my creativity and problem-solving skills in order to become a complete and globally competitive engineer. (You've used "advance" twice in two sentences. Try to vary your words. And always, always, always use active sentences. Occasionallly you will need to use passive sentences, but rarely.)

Towards the end of my studies, I participated in a student exchange program between [University] and the [University 2] in Germany. I dedicated the first semester to coursework, which I then followed by the completion of my diploma thesis at [Company] in [City 2], Germany. In my thesis I worked on the design and construction of an integrated cross-flow test system for the application of membrane technology to the industrial production of fine chemicals and conducted the start-up tests on the test plant to ensure its effective and safe operation. Additionally, as part of the project I studied the behavior of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes in a small dead-end filtration cell.

Okay, great. But what about you? Did you assume any leadership roles? Did you contribute key ideas? What did YOU do or learn or contribute? Again, I got that you are bright. But tell me something more about you.

Through my experience at [Company] and the coursework at [University 2] I strengthened my research abilities and gained a greater appreciation of novel areas such as membrane separations and bioprocess engineering. I am very satisfied by the fact that the results of my thesis, the membrane test system and the experimental data on membrane performance, are aiding [Company] implement innovative technologies to their production processes with the aim of achieving not only economic and operational advantages, but also of lessening the processes' environmental impact. Precisely, the future of chemical engineering is being defined by the combination of technical, economic and environmental challenges. The programs' motivating coursework and the opportunity of engaging in high-impact research, along with their orientation towards environmental and sustainability issues, would provide me with a privileged preparation to face these modern challenges in an innovative and ultimately successful manner.

Does anyone-I mean anyone-truly understand this gobblygook below?

Precisely, the future of chemical engineering is being defined by the combination of technical, economic and environmental challenges. The programs' motivating coursework and the opportunity of engaging in high-impact research, along with their orientation towards environmental and sustainability issues, would provide me with a privileged preparation to face these modern challenges in an innovative and ultimately successful manner.

What does it mean? Could you explain this stuff to a grade 10 student? Could you explain this stuff to anyone between the 10 and 14th floor during an elevator ride?

This paragraph is dripping with saccharine adjectives, so much so that it is now toxic. I get the impression that a bunch of words were thrown into some web interface and out came this meaningless paragraph. For me, it's wasted space.

I believe that my solid preparation in the fundamentals of chemical engineering and my resolute work ethic and motivation, as evidenced by my academic record and my engaged participation in several extracurricular activities (LIKE WHAT? You have mentioned any. Or do you expect the reader to be a mind reader?), put me in a great position to take the best out of a Master's program in one of Sweden's premier universities. I look forward to your positive response. This last paragraph needs some work too.

Sincerely yours,

[Signature]
Thanks a lot again for your comments, MountainHiker. I have again reformed the letter. I hope this version is better. Unfortunately I do not have much time left, I have to send all documents on Saturday at the latest. But I am looking forward to your comments and corrections. Greetings!

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University Studies in Sweden
FE 1
SE-833 83 Stroemsund
SWEDEN

Dear Sir or Madam:

I recently graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from University in City, Venezuela. After graduating first in my class out of 15 chemical engineers and overall second out of 151 graduates, I am now looking forward to continuing my education in a Master's program in the field of Chemical Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology or at Karlstad University.

My interest in chemical engineering dates back to my high-school involvement in Chemistry Olympiads at the national and international level. While always deeply interested in chemistry, I was also intrigued by the application of scientific principles to more tangible problems and by the role of engineers in society, particularly in Venezuela, where the oil industry pervades all aspects of our economic and social development. By joining a graduate program in Chemical Engineering at one of Sweden's premier universities I intend to enhance my knowledge, creativity and problem-solving skills in order to become a leader and an active participant in the search and application of solutions during my career as an engineer.

Towards the end of my studies, I participated in a student exchange program between University and the Other University in Germany. I dedicated the first semester to coursework, which I then followed by the completion of my diploma thesis at Company in Other City, Germany. In my thesis I worked on the design and construction of an integrated cross-flow test system for the application of membrane technology to the industrial production of fine chemicals, and conducted the start-up tests on the test plant to ensure its effective and safe operation. Additionally, as part of the project I studied the behavior of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes in a small dead-end filtration cell. I am very satisfied by the fact that my work at Company has contributed to an ingenious and industrially relevant solution aiming to provide not only economic and operational advantages for the company's production processes, but also to lessen their environmental impact.

In the increasingly globalized world we live in, excellence requires not only high technical proficiency but also a multicultural conscience. As an exchange student, I adapted successfully to life in an environment very different from my own. Communication was particularly challenging: despite the fact that I had already studied German for a few years, at first I could barely understand the lectures I attended. Instead of being discouraged, I was determined to achieve proficiency in the language, and in the end not only I obtained high grades in the courses, but also communicated almost exclusively in German in both personal and work settings. Apart from the academic aspect, I look forward to personal challenges such as these during my stay as a Master's program student in Sweden.

My solid preparation in the fundamentals of chemical engineering and my resolute work ethic and motivation, as evidenced by my academic record and my participation in several extracurricular activities, put me in a great position to take the best out this opportunity. I look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely yours,

[Signature]
University Studies in Sweden
FE 1
SE-833 83 Stroemsund
SWEDEN

Dear Sir or Madam:

I recently graduated *** laude with an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from University in City, Venezuela. After graduating first in my class out of 15 chemical engineers and overall second out of 151 graduates, I am now looking forward to continuing my education in a Master's program in the field of Chemical Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology or at Karlstad University.

My interest in chemical engineering dates back to my high-school involvement in Chemistry Olympiads at the national and international level. While always deeply interested in chemistry, I was also intrigued by the application of scientific principles to more tangible problems and by the role of engineers in society, particularly in Venezuela, where the oil industry pervades all aspects of our economic and social development. By joining a graduate program in Chemical Engineering at one of Sweden's premier universities I intend to enhance my knowledge, creativity and problem-solving skills in order to become a leader and an active participant in the search and application of solutions during my career as an engineer.

Towards the end of my studies, I participated in a student exchange program between University and the Other University in Germany. I dedicated the first semester to coursework, which I then followed by the completion of my diploma thesis at Company in Other City, Germany. In my thesis I worked on the design and construction of an integrated cross-flow test system for the application of membrane technology to the industrial production of fine chemicals, and conducted the start-up tests on the test plant to ensure its effective and safe operation. Additionally, as part of the project I studied the behavior of organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) membranes in a small dead-end filtration cell. I am very satisfied by the fact that my work at Company has contributed to an ingenious and industrially relevant solution aiming to provide not only economic and operational advantages for the company's production processes, but also to lessen their environmental impact.

In the increasingly globalized world we live in, excellence requires not only high technical proficiency but also a multicultural conscience. As an exchange student, I adapted successfully to life in an environment very different from my own. Communication was particularly challenging: despite the fact that I had already studied German for a few years, at first I could barely understand the lectures I attended. Instead of being discouraged, I was determined to achieve proficiency in the language, and in the end not only I obtained high grades in the courses, but also communicated almost exclusively in German in both personal and work settings. Apart from the academic aspect, I look forward to personal challenges such as these during my stay as a Master's program student in Sweden.

Your sentences are long and unnecessarily complex. I especially dislike the cliche words of "despite the fact that". It sounds like an old man is writing that. Your writing should be youthful with some zip. Get rid of the colon and the "despite the fact that".

My solid preparation in the fundamentals of chemical engineering and my resolute work ethic and motivation, as evidenced by my academic record and my participation in several extracurricular activities, put me in a great position to take the best out this opportunity. I look forward to your positive response.

Sincerely yours,

[Signature]

Your credentials will get you accepted into your school. Your letter, though, isn't the best. But it is good enough. Your letter sounds as though it was written by an experienced (read, old) bureaucrat. That is, the sentences are unnecessarily long and complicated. Even worse, some of the sentences are passive. This letter doesn't have the youthful zip and excitement of a university entrant.

Because of your time constraints, I won't attempt to fix them.

Good luck.
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Heh, well, I will try to post them earlier for upcoming applications, there are still a few to go Emotion: smile Thanks a lot for your help, Mountain Hiker. Now, just one more question: taking into account the remarks you made, this third version is better than the previous two?

Greetings!
Yes, I like your last letter best.

I don't think you are going to have much trouble. I think most people recognize your tremendous accomplishment of speaking several languages at a university level. Moreover, most people in a far away country will appreciate the diversity you bring from South America, especially from a country such as Venezuela that has an alternative form of government. There is a natural desire to help those who overcame strong obstacles. Moreover, I suspect you know the difficulties that bad management and bad government can bring.

In short, because you have proven your abilities and because you have an interesting background, I think you'll have your choice of universities. You'll be picking them more than they will be picking you. So choose wisely and have lots of fun.
Hello MountainHiker, any chance to get in touch with you through e-mail? I'd love to send you my letter of intent.

Thanks
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